USA gold medalist King explains Efimova snub, stays resolute in doping stance

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Team USA swimmer Lilly King had been quite critical of the decision to allow Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova to swim in the Rio Olympics.

Victory barely softened her temperament, if at all, even if he much-publicized Mutombo-like finger wag at a television showing Efimova was not meant for public consumption.

King took gold over Efimova on Monday, and remained resolute that athletes who’ve been banned for doping should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics.

But that doesn’t mean her perceived slight of Efimova, who won silver, was intentional.


“One, I was really in the moment with Katie and celebrating the U.S. victory,” she said. “Also, if I had been in Yulia’s position, I would not have wanted to be congratulated by someone who was not speaking highly of me. So if she was wishing to be congratulated, I apologize. She had a fantastic swim. I always look forward to racing her, but I was really just in the moment celebrating with Katie.”

Katie is Meili, the bronze medalist and King’s teammate. The quote comes from a great write-up from our own Nick Zaccardi in Brazil.

Read that here for Efimova’s emotional plea to be accepted in Rio. After a silver medal, the Russian swimmer wants everyone to understand that her doping has a reasonable explanation, and that she’s stung by her vilification.